Stroke service closure discussed at Scrutiny

Following Somerset Council’s meeting last week, stroke services were back on the Adult & Health Scrutiny Agenda today. The Scrutiny Committee were examining plans by Fit For My Future to close stroke provision in Yeovil Hospital. Fit For My Future have run a consultation on the proposed closures.

A local group in Yeovil, Quicksilver Community Group have already had some support from Somerset Council. A petition against the proposed closure handed in at last week’s council meeting was well received. With over 5,000 signatures opposed to the proposed closure, it was hard to ignore.

Somerset Council agreed an action plan, which essentially stated:

  1. the council to make representation to the NHS trust about the risks of the removal of the HASC at Yeovil District Hospital (YDH).
  2. to explore the cost risk to the council of additional care needs for stroke victims whose recovery is lessened by the delay in treatment.
  3. The council scrutiny committee to have a full debate next Wednesday (31st)
  4. To engage with all Somerset MPs to bring them on board in support.

At today’s Scrutiny Meeting, the Group’s Rick Beaver spoke about the consultation. And again addressed the closure plans. Mr Beaver told the meeting: “Only two options are proposed in the consultation both involve the closure of the Hyper Acute Stroke Care service in YDH. It is frankly incomprehensible to have a vision of stroke patients receiving timely acute interventions … regardless of where they live, while acknowledging that with a Hyper Acute Stroke Care service in both Yeovil and Taunton that journey times are a challenge, and then propose to remove the facility in Yeovil.”

Mr Beaver added that he was grateful for the opportunity to: “outline the impossibility of meeting recommended onset to treatment time of 45 minutes for stroke victims for a large area currently supported by YDH if the Hyper Acute Stoke Care facility is located just in Musgrove hospital. Delays in treatment result in less successful recovery for the patient, with life changing consequences for them and their families, and additional care requirement which will impact on the council.”

He posed this question to the committee: “Our approach to you is to ask you to recognise the strength of feeling, the fear of the risks inherent to the proposal, and ask what you are currently doing, and what further actions and influences you have to get these proposals reviewed and rejected.”

The Scrutiny Committee have not as yet made any recommendations. They agreed to hold an extra meeting in September when there should be a report on the conclusions from the consultation available.

The Scrutiny Committee would review this information before making any recommendations.

The Scrutiny Committee acknowledged that the final decision is an NHS one. It is not for council to take although they have scrutinised the consultation. They have also raised issues of concern following the motion agreed as part of petition debate at Full Council.


  • While the final decision will be an ICB one, it will be Somerset Council and ultimately the people of Somerset that will be footing the bill in Adult social care if it results in significantly poorer outcomes. I just feel such a huge issue deserves more detailed examination. I did detect both ‘well they are the experts we should just support them’ and ‘I live the other side of Taunton’ apathy creeping in when it was suggested the committee should meet again to continue the discussion which is a concern.

  • Although the Scrutiny Committee claimed the final decision will be with the NHS, I note the consultation document bears both the NHS logo and that of Somerset County Council. The council cannot distance themselves from the ultimate decision, especially when they will foot the bill for additional care costs of stroke victims who have less successful recovery due to delays in treatment.

Leave a Reply